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This week our small group continued our journey through the scriptures, stopping over at James 2:14-26, the popular faith and works passage. What is amazing about James is the way he bluntly hammers out the truth, breaking out the type of faith that Jesus actually died for.

So often, faith is equated with an emotional experience. That if we just work up the emotional excitement and feel passionately about it, then we have faith. Or on the flipside we reduce what the scriptures mean by faith into merely being informed or believing the right stuff about God. Although our feelings and our understandings regarding God are highly affected by what faith is, they fall short of what God really intends by faith.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied that it was to love God and to love others. It wasn’t because Jesus couldn’t count and responded with two commandments, it was because he was conveying that that the two were dynamically inseparable. A faith in God must be translated into actions specifically in relationship to other people.

It’s a generalization, but I can tell what people believe by what I see. When confronted with statements like that, our souls cry out because we do not think people see all of who we really are. They do not understand the great intentions and the passions that are bubbling beneath the surface. The truth is that God only counts what we truly believe, by what emerges out of our lives as an expression of worship to him.

James thrusts what we casually express as faith to another echelon. Faith at its most base level is one that is rendered into action. When James says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18). He almost taunts us, challenging us that the reality of our faith only exists in our actions.

There are many things that I can profess that I have faith in, but if these invisible declarations are not translated into a visible reality they are worthless before a God who sees faith as inextricably tied to my actions. God does not call us to work for our salvation, but to “work out our salvation” (Philippians 2:12) through living out our faith.
Faith is trusting in a God who does not just deposit his Holy Spirit, that it may be internally housed within us, but that unleashes it to impact every realm of our lives.

Faith demands risk. We diminish faith to trusting in a God who is great and sitting on our hands, when faith must include trusting in a God who dares us to move and accomplish the great things that are on His heart. What do I really believe…?

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Steve March 5, 2005, 6:06 pm
  • fishy152 March 6, 2005, 4:50 am

    maybe faith in terms of actions and belief is not dualistic. It is not even an overlapping venn diagram.

    Mabe it’s like light and dark. The absence of one equals the other.


  • Anonymous March 8, 2005, 1:17 am

    As usual, it’s an honour to read your thoughts bro.
    Way to really shed some light on James. I like the big about working out our salvation. This same book of James is probably one that best supports those who believe the Bible still tells us that faith isn’t enough for salvation. But I like your interpretation. =)

    And fishy152, I’m still trying to see what you are saying. Way to bring this concept into visual terms. Oh…Venn Diagrams. =)


  • Ma March 16, 2005, 10:36 pm

    Eh Lon,
    I’m Mandy Ma. You don’t know me but I found your blog through Amy (Yuen). I’m very fasinated with your Superman audio and was wondering if you would mind giving me the clip so that I can also put it on my blog too? Anyways thanks Lon.

  • Ma March 16, 2005, 10:37 pm

    Sorry I forgot to add my blog in the previous comment.

  • Paul March 17, 2005, 1:34 pm

    Pastor Charels Stanley of http://www.intouch.org did a great multi series broadcast on the growth into and through faith, from little faith to great faith of people like Moses and Abraham. I think you might enjoy it, check out the site audio archives. Great little read as usual, glad to see you are back at it..



  • Khristi Lauren March 31, 2005, 4:41 pm

    wonderful. i love your breakdown of faith. the Lord really ministered through you on this one. keep writing.

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